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First Med CEO sues former executive

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An ambulance company CEO says he's suing one of his former executives following a 9 On Your Side investigation into the company's bankruptcy.

In a release, Bryan Gibson says he and his company, Priority Ambulance, filed suit against Gary Poirier in U.S. District Court.
   
Poirier spoke exclusively to 9 On Your Side a few weeks ago and called Gibson a liar after Gibson went on TV defending the bankruptcy filing.
    
Gibson calls it a smear campaign that not only targets him, but his growing business.

Gibson said, "the statements about me are outrageous and false. With this lawsuit, I want to set the record straight and stop the illegal conduct."
    
9 On Your Side called Poirier. He says he stands by his words and believes all his statements are true. 

--- Previous Story ---

The man responsible for laying off hundreds of emergency responders in the east finally faces the tough questions.

In December, Bertie County's only EMS provider, First Med shut down without notice. This left thousands without jobs, and thousands wondering what will happen if they call for an ambulance.
     
Bryan Gibson, First Med's CEO, avoided all our attempts to explain the situation---that is, until a reporter in Knoxville held his feet to the fire.

His background and what he's up to is particularly interesting to them because he relocated his new business there. A press release says Knox County, TN will be the location of its new corporate headquarters. Nationwide, the company operates more than 45 ambulances and employs more than 300 paramedics and EMTs.

WBIR asked Gibson about his past "Is that how you conduct business, to not give people any notice…you lay them off and…give them no final paycheck?” 

“No it's not what I want to do. It's what we were forced to do at the time we started or tried to figure out how to fix the company." Gibson replied. 

Former employees in the east are speaking up. They accuse Gibson of lying about First Med’s finances. 

“He can go on live TV and make these accusations saying that he didn't do this and he didn't do that, but it's all there,” Billy Forbush said. 

In a 9 On Your Side Investigation--- sources told WNCT it was always Gibson's intentions to run First Med into the ground. 

“When he started telling us to fly first class and to upgrade our hotels, yea that was a red flag.” Gary Poirier is a former First Med executive. He joined the company in 2009 and says when Gibson fired him, the company was in good shape. “There was a 70 million dollar swing to the positive.”

Gibson tells another story, “The company and the investors in that company were totally upside down.”

But Poirier says Gibson is “full of it.” Poirier says Gibson’s intentions were to bring First Med down and had plans to make it happen. 

“Within days that I left the company, people reported to me that they are driving vehicles (and equipment) to Alabama and Tennessee…. In my mind it's embezzlement. Maybe that isn't the formal charge, but I think there is something illegal about it and I think there's something that says that he belongs in jail over these charges.”

Gibson hasn’t returned our calls. However, the public relations firm representing him released this statement on his behalf: “I understand that some people who lost their jobs when FirstMed closed are upset and bitter. I probably would be, too. I wish the company were still operating and everyone still had their jobs. But the fact is that I was brought in to FirstMed, a company that was in serious financial trouble, to try to turn it around. It turned out not to be possible, and the owners opted to put the company in bankruptcy. I was at the company approximately 120 days. I don’t think it’s fair to put the entire blame for the company’s demise on me. It was in very serious trouble before I got there. Regarding the ambulances you mentioned, all ambulances and any assets related to FirstMed are in the control of the bankruptcy trustee.”

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